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Create An Artistic Masterpiece in The Palm Beaches

Create An Artistic Masterpiece in The Palm Beaches

By: Linnea Bailey

Here are four of the region’s top art destinations where aspiring artists can unleash their creativity

On any given week throughout the year, both aspiring and experienced artists can be found making magic at The Palm Beaches’ leading art schools. Soldering the perfect sparkling jeweled earrings. Painting a spectacular portrait. Building an intricate sculpture from clay or even glass. Making new friends with like-minded artisans. With classes for every age and skill level, here are four exceptional artist havens that deserve a visit from anyone curious about creating art and finding community.


1. Armory Art Center

Established in a magnificent 1939 Art Deco building, the Armory Art Center is located just south of downtown West Palm Beach and offers a rich local history. Once the site of a municipal market at the turn of the 20th century, its building served as a National Guard Armory and popular community event space before opening as an art school in 1987.

Today, the nonprofit art center features three buildings of artist studios humming with activity, with locals taking part in classes and open workshops into the evening. With a dizzying array of courses in ceramics, jewelry design, digital photography, metalsmithing, painting, drawing, printmaking, screenprinting, stone carving, welding and more, there is always something new to be experienced and created at the Armory’s art school. The center’s gallery, too, is not to be missed; its evolving roster of events.

Mark your calendar for the Armory’s exhilarating annual weekend outdoor arts festival each December, featuring stunning artwork by local artisans, tours, kids’ activities, live music and more.

Armory Art Center
Courtesy of the Armory Art Center


2. Benzaiten Center for Creative Arts

Just steps from the heart of downtown Lake Worth Beach is the magical Benzaiten Center for Creative Arts, a nonprofit arts and educational organization for anyone interested in glassblowing and other exhilarating forms of fine craftsmanship. Located in the city’s arts district in a restored historic FEC Train Depot, the 14,500-square-foot permanent arts center boasts the largest hot glass shop in the state, as well as a fusing and flameworking studio, gallery and gift shop, welding and glass casting studios.

A metal foundry and a working sculpture garden are due to open later this year. Named for the Japanese goddess who represents all things flowing (such as love, knowledge, music or in this case, hot molten glass and bronze), the center is the vision of local artist and entrepreneur JB Berkow, who wanted to encourage both emerging and established artists to continue living and working in The Palm Beaches.

The center opened to the public in 2015 and today offers classes for all levels in glassblowing, flameworking and fusing, offering artisans a place to create glass beads for jewelry, flame-worked glass art creations or beautiful fine art sculptures. Thrilling ongoing events include master workshops, visiting artist special events, gallery openings and free programming for schools and other nonprofit organizations. With regularly scheduled tours and narrated glassblowing demonstrations offered once per month from December through April, this is one extraordinary arts destination not to be missed.

Glass vase at the Benzaiten Center for the Creative Arts
Courtesy of the Benzaiten Center for the Creative Arts


3. Boca Raton Museum Art School

Nestled on a beautiful shaded block of Boca Raton’s first neighborhood Old Floresta (originally designed by Addison Mizner in the 1920s), the Boca Raton Museum Art School offers a gorgeous respite from the Florida heat for those seeking to create art.

Founded at its current site in 1961, the Art School draws more than 5,000 annual students to ongoing classes in 10 studios. With courses in sculpture, ceramics, drawing, photography, jewelry design, textiles and multimedia art, the school’s offerings also include classes in Ikebana (the Japanese art of flower design), as well as 3D design, fashion and glamour art and more.

Whether seeking a multi-session class or a single-session workshop, the Art School has something for everyone, with an all-star faculty and four sensational student art shows (and one faculty exhibition) per year. And don’t miss the connection with the Boca Raton Museum of Art in nearby Mizner Park, a world-class art destination with different exhibits. Members of the nonprofit museum also enjoy discounts on classes at the Art School, marking one more reason to consider joining the fun at the southern end of The Palm Beaches.

Ceramics Boca Raton Museum of Art
Courtesy of the Boca Raton Museum of Art


4. Lighthouse ArtCenter

Located in the enchanting seaside village of Tequesta is a true hidden gem: Lighthouse ArtCenter Gallery and School of Art, a lively art center founded in 1964 that offers a vibrant art school, unique exhibitions and dynamic special events.

Serving more than 20,000 people per year, the nonprofit features a three-building campus with multiple galleries, including its School of Art’s eight studios and an ArtShop filled with art supplies, handmade jewelry and pieces by local artists. Classes in the school’s sweeping studios include all levels of ceramics with multiple specialized kilns, metalsmithing, photography, sculpture, portrait and figure instruction, painting (including acrylics, oils and watercolors), glass, textiles and mixed media.

Ample breezy open-air workspaces at the center abound, including a serene chickee hut adorned with orchids and an idyllic patio space outside Vintage Wine & Charcuterie where locals paint together during Wine Down Wednesday events.

The school’s Select Fridays offer an ongoing roster of low-commitment, one-time evening workshops where people can explore a variety of disciplines. The center draws crowds for exciting events such as its Annual Plein Air Festival (which brings 30 of the country’s top plein air painters to The Palm Beaches for a week of outdoor painting) and its Annual Members’ Show, which showcases students’ work and offers the chance to purchase artwork from up-and-coming artists. Those who crave a little more art in their lives are sure to find it at this artisans’ paradise just north of Jupiter.

Ceramic class at the Lighthouse Art center
Courtesy of the Lighthouse Art Center


Linnea Bailey Profile Picture

Linnea Bailey

Linnea Bailey is an award-winning journalist based in West Palm Beach. Her freelance work can be found in Travel + Leisure, Southern Living, The Palm Beach Post, Florida Weekly, Modern Luxuryart&culture magazine and more. Linnea enjoys traveling, spending time with family and experiencing all the arts and cultural offerings The Palm Beaches have to offer. Find her on Instagram @linneabaileymedia.


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